If done well, a speculative email or covering letter can be surprisingly effective. Here are our steps for structuring that perfect speculative application:
Make sure you address your letter or email to a real person and not “sir or madam” or “to whom it may concern”. Go straight to the source: ideally you want to be reaching the key decision makers – the line managers, heads of department and MDs (if it is a smaller company), rather than HR.
Keep it simple and get straight to the point. State that you're writing to enquire about a position within the organisation and, ideally, the kind of role you see yourself doing.
Example: “I am an experienced and talented marketing professional, and I'm writing to enquire about potential roles within your organisation.”
When it comes to creative industries you can afford to be a little more 'imaginative' –
a pithy, punchy opening will help grab their attention.
Outline why the employer appeals to you and why you feel the organisation would be a good fit for your skills and interests.
If possible, try to pinpoint the above to something specific – a particular article you've read, an event you attended or a conversation you had with an employee.
Example: “Having spoken to a representative from your company at the recent XXXX careers fair, I was extremely interested to hear about your expansion into China. I have a longstanding interest in emerging markets…”
Explain why the employer should be interested in hiring you. Aim to frame your skills and competencies in the light of what you know about the company and what it's looking for.
Example: “After spending six months working in China, I would relish the chance to leverage my understanding of the Chinese language and culture with a leading organisation such as XXXX.”
You can expand to talk about your wider abilities and what you are hoping to achieve in the next stage of your career. There is no need for expansive detail as you are attaching your CV/resume'.
Example: “I am a resourceful individual with excellent communication skills. I am now looking to expand my skill set through new challenges and believe your organisation offers a fantastic platform from which to do this.”
Round off your letter with a call to action, explaining what you want to happen next.
Example: “I would very much like to discuss my skills and experience with you in more detail. I am available for interview at any time and can be contacted at…”
While there are no guarantees, a well researched letter or email that speaks directly to the employer can cut through a lot of the noise out there. Whatever happens, you'll be taking charge of your job search and gaining access to opportunities that may otherwise not have existed.
Source: career development resources